Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 21:20

the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Amethyst;   Beryl;   Chrysolyte;   Chrysoprasus;   Church;   Jacinth;   Jerusalem;   Onyx;   Readings, Select;   Sardius;   Sardonyx;   Stones;   Topaz;   Walls, of the Cities;   Thompson Chain Reference - Amethyst;   Beryl;   Future, the;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   Jacinth;   Precious Stones;   Sardius;   Stones, Precious;   Topaz;   The Topic Concordance - Jerusalem;   Newness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Precious Stones;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Amethyst;   Beryl;   Chrysolite;   Chrysoprasus;   Jacinth;   Jerusalem;   Sardonyx;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Create, Creation;   Dead Sea Scrolls;   Jesus Christ;   New Jerusalem;   Touch;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Amethyst;   Beryl;   Chrysoprasus;   Jacinth;   Sardonyx;   Topaz;   Wall;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Amethyst;   Apostle;   Beryl;   Chrysoprasus;   Jacinth;   Noah;   Number;   Thousand Years;   Topaz;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Amethyst;   Art and Aesthetics;   Beryl;   Carnelian;   Chrysolite;   Chrysoprase;   Heaven;   Heavenly City, the;   Hyacinth;   Jacinth;   Minerals and Metals;   Revelation, the Book of;   Sardonyx;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jewels and Precious Stones;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Amethyst ;   Beryl;   Chrysolite ;   Chrysoprase ;   Jacinth ;   New Jerusalem;   Numbers;   Precious Stones ;   Sardonyx ;   Topaz ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Amethyst;   Beryl;   Chrysolyte;   Chrysoprasus;   Gate;   Jacinth;   Lamb;   Numbers as Symbols;   Sardine, Sardius,;   Sardonyx;   Stones;   Topaz;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gareb;   Gold;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Amethyst;   Chrysolite;   Chrysoprasus;   Jacinth;   Topaz;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Amethyst;   Beryl;   Chrysolite,;   Chryoprase;   Jacinth,;   Number;   Sardonyx;   Topaz,;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Old - golden;   Sardonyx;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Amethyst;   Beryl;   Chrysolite;   Chrysoprasus;   Sapphire;   Sardius;   Sardonyx;   Topaz;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Hyacinth;   Revelation of John:;   Stones, Precious:;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Amethyst;   Beryl;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eschatology;   Gems;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The fifth, sardonyx - The onyx is an accidental variety of the agate kind; it is of a dark horny color, in which is a plate of a bluish white, and sometimes of red. When on one or both sides of the white there happens to lie also a plate of a reddish color, the jewelers call the stone a sardonyx.

The sixth, sardius - The sardius, sardel, or sardine stone, is a precious stone of a blood-red color.

The seventh, chrysolite - The gold stone. It is of a dusky green with a cast of yellow. It is a species of the topaz.

The eighth, beryl - This is a pellucid gem of a bluish green color.

The ninth, a topaz - A pale dead green, with a mixture of yellow. It is considered by the mineralogists as a variety of the sapphire.

The tenth, a chrysoprasus - A variety of the chrysolite, called by some the yellowish green and cloudy topaz. It differs from the chrysolite only in having a bluish hue.

The eleventh, a jacinth - A precious stone of a dead red color, with a mixture of yellow. It is the same as the hyacenet or cinnamon stone.

The twelfth, an amethyst - A gem generally of a purple or violet color, composed of a strong blue and deep red.

These stones are nearly the same with those on the breastplate of the high priest, Exodus 28:17, etc., and probably were intended to express the meaning of the Hebrew words there used. See the notes on Exodus 28:17, etc. where these gems are particularly explained.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The fifth, sardonyx - This word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The “name” is derived from “Sardis,” a city in Asia Minor (notes on Revelation 3:1), and ὄνυξ onuxa nail - so named, according to Pliny, from the resemblance of its color to the flesh and the nail. It is a silicious stone or gem, nearly allied to the onyx. The color is a reddish yellow, nearly orange (Webster, Dictionary).

The sixth, sardius - This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It is also derived from “Sardis,” and the name was probably given to the gem because it was found there. It is a stone of a blood-red or flesh color, and is commonly known as a “carnelian.” It is the same as the sardine stone mentioned in Revelation 4:3. See the notes on that place.

The seventh, chrysolite - This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It is derived from χρυσὸς chrusos“gold,” and λίθος lithos“stone,” and means “golden stone,” and was applied by the ancients to all gems of a golden or yellow color, probably designating particularly the topaz of the moderns (Robinson, Lexicon). But in Webster‘s Dictionary it is said that its prevalent color is green. It is sometimes transparent. This is the “modern” chrysolite. The ancients undoubtedly understood by the name a “yellow” gem.

The eighth, beryl - This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The beryl is a mineral of great hardness, and is of a green or bluish-green color. It is identical with the emerald, except in the color, the emerald having a purer and richer green color, proceeding from a trace of oxide of chrome. Prisms of beryl are sometimes found nearly two feet in diameter in the state of New Hampshire (Webster).

The ninth, a topaz - This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The topaz is a well-known mineral, said to be so called from “Topazos,” a small island in the Arabian Gulf. It is generally of a yellowish color, and pellucid, but it is also found of greenish, bluish, or brownish shades.

The tenth, a chrysoprasus - This word χρυσόπρασος chrusoprasosdoes not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It is derived from χρυσὸς chrusos“gold,” and πράσον prason“a leek,” and denotes a precious stone of greenish golden color, like a leek; that is, “apple-green passing into a grass-green” (Robinson, Lexicon). “It is a variety of quartz. It is commonly apple-green, and often extremely beautiful. It is translucent, or sometimes semi-transparent; its hardness little inferior to flint” (Webster, Dictionary).

The eleventh, a jacinth - The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It is the same word as “hyacinth” - ὑάκινθος huakinthos- and denotes properly the well-known flower of that name, usually of a deep purple or reddish blue. Here it denotes a gem of this color. It is a red variety of “zircon.” See Webster‘s Dictionary under the word “hyacinth.”

The twelfth, an amethyst - This word, also, is found only in this place in the New Testament. It denotes a gem of a deep purple or violet color. The word is derived from α athe alpha privative (“not”), and μεθύω methuōto be intoxicated, because this gem was supposed to be an antidote against drunkenness. It is a species of quartz, and is used in jewelry.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-21.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The fifth, sardonyx,.... Which is partly of the sardian, and partly of the onyx stone, which resembles a man's nail, from whence it has its name; it is reddish, bordering on white; it may be thought to answer to the onyx in the breastplate, on which was written the name of Joseph.

The sixth, sardius; the same with the sardine stone, Revelation 4:3 of a blood colour, and what is commonly called a cornelian: it is found in Sardinia, from whence it has its name, and in Bohemia and Silesia, though those of Babylon are the best. This was Reuben's stone.

The seventh, chrysolite; a stone of a dusky green colour, with a cast of yellow; by its name it should have the colour of gold. Schroder says it is found in Bohemia, and that it is the same the moderns call the topaz. Some think it answers to "tarshish" in the breastplate, rendered "beryl", on which was the name of Asher.

The eighth, beryl; a stone of a pale green colour, thought to be the diamond of the ancients: it may answer to the "ligure" in the breastplate, which the Targum on Song of Solomon 5:14 calls "birla", and had the name of Dan on it.

The ninth, a topaz; a stone very hard and transparent, of a beautiful yellow, or gold colour: the topaz of Ethiopia was counted the best, Job 28:19. Some say it is so called from the island "Topazus"; on this stone Simeon's name was engraven.

The tenth, a chrysoprasus; a stone of a green colour, inclining to that of gold, from whence it has its name; for this is the agate in the breastplate, which was Napthali's stone.

The eleventh, a jacinth; or "hyacinth": a stone of a purple, or violet colour, from whence it has its name; though what the moderns so call is of a deep reddish yellow, pretty near a flame colour. Zabulon's stone was the diamond.

The twelfth, an amethyst; a stone of a violet colour, bordering on purple: it has been thought a preservative from drunkenness, from whence it seems to have its name. On this stone was written the name of Gad. Agreeably to this account of John's, the Jews speakF14Zohar in Gen. fol. 17. 2. & in Exod. fol. 65. 4. of the tabernacle above being built on twelve precious stones; and sometimes they sayF15Abkath Rocel, p. 150. Vid. Zohar in Exod. fol. 96. 3. , that the holy blessed God will found Jerusalem with ten kind of precious stones, and which they mention, and several of which are the same with these.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-21.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

sardonyx — a gem having the redness of the cornelian, and the whiteness of the onyx.

sardius — (See on Revelation 4:3).

chrysolite — described by Pliny as transparent and of a golden brightness, like our topaz: different from our pale green crystallized chrysolite.

beryl — of a sea-green color.

topaz — Pliny [37.32], makes it green and transparent, like our chrysolite.

chrysoprasus — somewhat pale, and having the purple color of the amethyst [Pliny, 37, 20, 21].

jacinth — The flashing violet brightness in the amethyst is diluted in the jacinth [Pliny, 37.41].

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-21.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Sardonyx (σαρδονυχsardonux), here only in N.T., white with layers of red, from sardion (red carnelian) and onyx (white); for sardius (σαρδιονsardion) see Revelation 4:3; chrysolite (χρυσολιτοςchrusolithos), here only in N.T. (Exodus 28:20), stone of a golden colour like our topaz or amber or a yellow beryl or golden jasper; beryl (βηρυλλοςbērullos), again here only in N.T. (Exodus 28:20), note the difficulty of identification, much like the emerald according to Pliny; for topaz (τοπαζιονtopazion), here only in N.T. (Exodus 28:17), a golden-greenish stolle; chrysoprase (chrusoprasos), here only in N.T. (not in lxx), in colour like a teek, translucent golden-green; jacinth (υακιντοςhuakinthos), of the colour of the hyacinth, a violet colour (Pliny), already in Revelation 9:17 like blue smoke, like achates in lxx; amethyst (αμετυστοςamethustos), only here in N.T. (Exodus 28:19), of a violet and purple colour, more brilliant than the υακιντοςhuakinthos Swete sums up the colours thus: blue (sapphire, jacinth, amethyst), green (jasper, chalcedony, emerald, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase), red (sardonyx, sardius), yellow (chrysolite). But even so there is great variety in hue and brilliancy and in the reaction on each other. Clement of Alexandria argues that this variety illustrates the variety of gifts and graces in the twelve apostles. Possibly so.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-21.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Sardonyx ( σαρδόνυξ )

The most beautiful and rarest variety of onyx. Pliny defines it as originally signifying a white mark in a sard, like the human nail ( ὄνυξ ) placed upon flesh, and both of them transparent. Onyx is called from the resemblance of its white and yellow veins to the shades in the human finger-nail. The early Greeks make no distinction between the onyx and the sardonyx.

Sardius

See on Revelation 4:3.

Chrysolite ( χρυσόλιθος )

From χρυσός goldand λίθος stoneLit., gold-stone. Identified by some with our topaz, by others with amber. Pliny describes it as “translucent with golden luster.”

Beryl ( βήρυλλος )

Pliny says that it resembled the greenness of the pure sea. It has been supposed to be of the same or similar nature with the emerald.

Topaz ( τοπάζιον )

Compare Job 28:19. The name was derived from an island in the Red Sea where the gem was first discovered. The stone is our peridot. The Roman lapidaries distinguished the two varieties, the chrysopteron, our chrysolite, and the prasoides, our peridot. The former is much harder, and the yellow color predominates over the green. The modern topaz was entirely unknown to the ancients.

Chrysoprasus

Rev., chrysoprase. From χρυσός goldand πράσον a leek; the color being a translucent, golden green, like that of a leek. According to Pliny it was a variety of the beryl.

Jacinth ( ὑάκινθος )

See on Revelation 9:17.

Amethyst ( ἀμέθυστος )

From ἀ notand μεθύω tobe drunken in wine, the stone being supposed to avert intoxication. Pliny distinguishes it from the jacinth, in that, in the latter, the violet hue of the amethyst is diluted. The stone is the amethystine quartz, or rock-crystal, colored purple by manganese of iron.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-21.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

A sardonyx is red streaked with white; a sardius, of a deep red; a chrysolite, of a deep yellow; a beryl, sea-green; a topaz, pale yellow; a chrysoprase is greenish and transparent, with gold specks; a jacinth, of a red purple; an amethyst, violet purple.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-21.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

Ver. 20. The fifth, sardonyx] Search is here made through all the bowels of the earth for something of worth to shadow out the saints’ happiness; which if it could be fully known (as it cannot) it would be no strange thing or thankworthy for the most horrible Belialist to become presently the holiest saint, or the world’s greatest minion the most mortified man. He that desires to know the natures and virtues of these precious stones, may read Epiphanius, Philo, Franciseus, Rurus, and others, De gemmis; Josephus also in the third book of his Jewish Antiquities. That was an odd conceit, and scarce worth relating, held by Anaxagoras, Caelum ex lapidibus constare, et aliquando collapsurum, that heaven was made up of stones, and would one day fall upon men’s heads. That other saying of his is much more memorable, when being asked, Wherefore he was born? He answered, Ut caelum contemplar, that I might busy my thoughts about heaven.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-21.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 21:20. σάρδιος) The most approved MSS. have here σάρδιον,(234) and the LXX. and Epiphanius. Let this be compared with the Syntagmata of Hiller, p. 86.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-21.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I cannot tell what to make of these precious stones, with which they are said to be garnished, unless it be their spiritual gifts and habits of grace; the various manifestations of the Holy Spirit given to the apostles to profit the church withal, with which they adorned the doctrine of the gospel, and won upon the pagan world, making themselves admirable in the eyes of men and women. Nor were it hard to descant upon these several sorts of stones, and to show of what graces they may be types: the jasper, of steadiness and constancy; the sapphire, of heavenly mindedness (it being a stone of the colour of the heavens); the chalcedony, of zeal; the emerald of vigour and liveliness; the sardonyx, (a stone of various colours), of various gifts and graces; the sardius, of courage and fortitude, and a readiness to shed their blood for Christ; the chrysolyte, of love, or wisdom, and knowledge; the beryl, of a quickness of sight and understanding; the topaz, of searching out Divine mysteries; the chrysoprasus, of gravity and severity; the jacinth, of spiritual joy, calmness, and serenity of mind; the amethyst, of sobriety and temperence. But it seems to me too great curiosity to philosophize so far upon the nature of these stones; take them together, they probably signify all the gifts and graces of the blessed apostles, by which the religion of the gospel was first commended, and made to appear lovely to the world.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-21.html. 1685.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

Sardonyx - having the redness of cornelian, and the whiteness of onyx.

Sardius - (note, Revelation 4:3.)

Chrysolite - described by Pliny as transparent, and of a golden brightness, like topaz; different from our pale green crystallized chrysolite.

Beryl - sea-green.

Topaz. Pliny (37: 32) makes it green and transparent, like our chrysolite.

Chrysoprasus - somewhat pale, having the purple of the amethyst (Pliny, 37: 20, 21).

Jacinth. The violet brightness in the amethyst is diluted in the jacinth (Pliny, 37: 41).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-21.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
20
Reciprocal: Exodus 28:17 - a topaz;  Exodus 28:20 - a beryl;  1 Kings 7:10 - the foundation;  Job 28:19 - topaz;  Ezekiel 10:9 - as the;  Ezekiel 28:13 - every;  Daniel 10:6 - like the beryl;  Revelation 4:3 - like a;  Revelation 9:17 - jacinth

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-21.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

A sardonya: is described by Thayer as follows: "A precious stone marked by the red color of the carnelian (sard) and the white of the onyx." A sardius is a flesh-colored stone. Thayer says a chrysolyte is "a precious stone of a golden color," and he says a beryl is "a precious stone of a pale green color." A topaz is a stone of a greenish-yellow color as given by Thayer. Chrysoprasus. Thayer defines this as follows: "A precious stone in color like a leek, of a translucent [transparent] golden-green." A jacinth is also the name of_a flower (commonly called a hyacinth). The color of it and the stone by the same name is dark-blue, almost black. Thayer says an amethyst is a precious stone of a violet and purple color.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-21.html. 1952.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Sardonyx is a mixture of chalcedony and cornelian, which last is of a flesh colour. Sardius is probably the cornelian. Sometimes, however, the red is quite vivid. Chrysolite, as its name imports, is of a yellow or gold colour, and is pellucid. From this was probably taken the conception of the pellucid gold which constitutes the material of the city. Beryl is of a sea-green colour. The topaz of the present day seems to be reckoned as yellow; but that of the ancients appears to have been pale green. Chrysoprasus, of a pale yellow and greenish colour, like a scallion. Sometimes it is classed at the present day under topaz. Jacinth, (hyacinth,) of a deep red or violet colour.

Amethyst—A gem of great hardness and brilliancy, of a violet colour, and usually found in India.

“In looking over these various classes we find the first four to be of a green or bluish cast; the fifth and sixth, of a red or scarlet; the seventh, yellow; the eighth, ninth, and tenth, of different shades of the lighter green; the eleventh and twelfth, of a scarlet or splendid red. There is classification, therefore, in this arrangement—a mixture not dissimilar to the arrangement in the rainbow, with the exception that it is more complex. The splendour of such a foundation, or basis of the wall, admits of no question. As to the order of arrangement of colours, it is difficult to say what rule is followed, and mere mental conception about propriety of order is hardly adequate to guide us. Whether this arrangement is in conformity with some ornamental arrangements of the day which were regarded as beautiful, we cannot positively affirm; yet, in itself, this is highly probable. At all events, the precious stones here named were the same, beyond any reasonable doubt, which are mentioned as set into the breastplate of the Jewish high priest.

Exodus 28:17-20; Exodus 39:10-13. On these stones in the breastplate, moreover, were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, (Exodus 28:21; Exodus 39:14,) just as the names of the twelve apostles are here said to be engraved on the precious stones in the foundation. Revelation 21:14.”—Stuart.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 21:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-21.html. 1874-1909.